Press conference given by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, to the national and foreign press.
We are a few days away from the Constitutional Referendum in our country, which attracts all our attention, the mobilization of our people and the coverage by the media that you represent, which has been intense, I am grateful for.
The Government of the Republic of Cuba has consistently denounced the fact that the Government of the United States of America is preparing a military aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under humanitarian pretexts.
In the speeches of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of our Party on 26 July 2018 and 1 January 2019, and in the speeches of the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, comrade Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in July last year and more recently, we alerted you to the very serious economic, political, social, humanitarian and regional peace and security consequences of a new military adventure of the United States in our America.
The Declaration of the Revolutionary Government, dated 13 February, affirmed – and I reiterate – with absolute responsibility and with all the necessary data, that U.S. military transport flights are taking place, originating in U.S. military installations from which special forces and marine infantry units operate that are used to carry out covert actions, including against leaders or persons deemed valuable.
With absolute ignorance of the governments of the territories concerned and total disrespect for the sovereignty of those States, the preparation of a military action under humanitarian pretext continues.
President Donald Trump, yesterday afternoon, as well as other high officials and spokespersons of the US Government have repeated and confirmed that the military option is among those considered. Yesterday President Trump said, “All options are open”.
According to the U.S. press itself, U.S. military high commanders, who have never dealt with humanitarian aid, have had meetings with U.S. and other national politicians, and have visited places clearly related to the issue at hand.
We are all witnessing the manufacture of humanitarian pretexts. A deadline has been set for the introduction of “humanitarian aid” by means of force, which is in itself a contradiction in terms: it is not possible for genuine humanitarian aid to be based on violence, on the force of arms or on the violation of international law. This mere approach is a violation of international humanitarian law that reveals the politicisation of humanitarian aid, as at other times when noble causes of universal recognition have been used as a pretext to develop military aggressions.
We should ask ourselves, in view of the establishment of a deadline, in view of the sustained declaration that humanitarian aid is going to penetrate Venezuelan territory in any event on that day against the sovereign will of its people and the decision of its constitutional Government, what objectives are being pursued? What could be the objectives other than to generate an incident that endangers the lives of civilians, that provokes violence or unpredictable circumstances?
In recent days, there has been talk that humanitarian aid will continue for months or even years. It has been said “as long as the reconstruction lasts”. That Florida senator should be asked what reconstruction he is talking about. We are talking about a nation that is not at war and has not suffered a war; but it is known that war is excellent business for the American companies of the military-industrial complex and later for the others of the so-called reconstruction.
The Government of the United States continues to exert pressure on the Member States of the United Nations Security Council to force the adoption of a resolution that would be the prelude to a “humanitarian intervention”. In its article it contains the analysis of a situation of breach of peace and security in that sister nation and urges all international actors and of whatever kind to use the necessary measures.
It is known by precedents, even recent ones, that this language is generally followed by calling for no-fly zones, protection of civilians, establishment of humanitarian corridors under Chapter VII of the Charter authorizing the use of force.
It is our hope that the United Nations Security Council will uphold its vocation and responsibility as the principal guarantor of international peace and security and will not lend itself to military adventures.
We call on its members to act in accordance with international law and to defend peace, which is precious for humanity, for Our America and also for the Venezuelan people.
The Government of the United States has devised, has fabricated in Washington an imperialist coup, with a “president” who was made in that capital of the North, who has not served domestically.
One could cite numerous American sources, accredited media that have given all the details of how the coup was articulated. The pressures exerted by the Government of the United States against other countries, trying to force the recognition of the supposed “president” self titled and proclaimed by Washington, or the call for new elections in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, nullifying those that its people have already legitimately and constitutionally exercised.
The efforts of the White House National Security team, some State Department officials and some U.S. embassies are well known. In addition, a great communicational and political operation is underway, generally a prelude to larger-scale actions by that government.
Unilateral and therefore illegal coercive economic measures are increasingly being applied against the sister Republic of Venezuela: the embargo or freezing of financial assets in third countries; the tremendous pressures on governments that supply Venezuela and even the Venezuelan oil industry; the pressures on third country banks to prevent legitimate financial transactions, even in third currencies; the confiscation, in fact theft, of PDVSA’s subsidiary in the United States and other interests established in that country.
These measures constitute a gross violation of international law and also of international humanitarian law, cause deprivation and human damage and are totally incompatible with hypocritical appeals by those responsible for the application of these cruel measures to provide humanitarian aid. The figures are obscene. There has been talk of humanitarian aid of some USD 20 million to a country that is being deprived of more than USD 30 billion by these arbitrary, illegal and unjust measures.
The Government of the Republic of Cuba calls on the international community to act in defence of peace, to avoid, with the joint effort of all, without exception, a military intervention against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
One can only be, at this crucial moment when the decision is made to observe, the validity of the principles of International Law, of the Charter of the United Nations; where it is decided that the reason for a government’s legitimacy lies in the support and vote of its people; where it is decided that no foreign pressure can replace the sovereign exercise of self-determination; in these circumstances, one can only be for or against peace, one can only be for or against war.
We encourage the Montevideo Mechanism, especially the Government of the United Mexican States, the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, the governments of the Caribbean Community and the Plurinational State of Bolivia to continue to make their greatest efforts in these urgent conditions, to promote a solution based on dialogue and absolute respect for the independence and sovereignty of Venezuela, and the validity of the principles of international law, especially the principle of non-intervention.
We call for an international mobilization for peace, against the military intervention of the United States in Latin America, against war; over and above political differences, ideological differences, in favor of the supreme good of humanity, which is peace, which is the right to life.
We call on all governments, parliaments, political forces, social movements, popular movements, indigenous peoples, trade and social organizations, trade unions, peasants, women, students, intellectuals and artists, academics; especially communicators and journalists, you (point to journalists), non-governmental organizations, representatives of civil society.
At the same time, the Government of the Republic of Cuba reiterates its firm and invariable solidarity with the constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, with the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, with the civil-military union of its people, and we affirm that in the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela we must defend today the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace. Today we must defend the sovereignty of all, the independence of all and the sovereign equality of States.
We were astonished yesterday afternoon by President Donald Trump’s speech. Surprisingly he decreed the “end of socialism” and announced “a new day” for humanity. He solemnly proclaimed that, for the first time in history, there will be a hemisphere free of socialism.
Curiously, he also spoke of progress in negotiations with a great socialist country and had chosen another to hold an important summit.
How many times have people in the United States decreed the end of socialism or the end of history?
President Trump paid tribute to “great leaders” present at the Florida event: a governor, a couple of senators, a representative, an ambassador, all fundamentalist Republicans and, five minutes later, he was apparently warned or realized that he had been profoundly unfair by omitting the name of John Bolton, also present there.
Bolton has been a war-maker for decades, the main organizer of the coup d’état in Venezuela and a permanent advocate of military option.
The President of the United States referred to human dignity. Apparently he forgets that it is in capitalism and, in particular, in imperialism where injustice, exploitation, manipulation of people prevails.
He criticized corruption, perhaps without recognizing that the U.S. political system is corrupt by nature, that it is where special interests or corporate contributions reign, where money rules and now data, big data, where elections are won by manipulating people.
He spoke of democracy, not to mention the millions of American citizens mostly black and Hispanic excluded from the vote; the 40 million poor, half of them children.
He forgot to mention the more than 500,000 homeless people in that country. Perhaps he ignores that there prevails a differentiated racial standard, from the application of the death penalty, the penitentiary system, judicial sanctions, or even police brutality that costs the lives of African Americans permanently.
He made no mention of the lack of unionization of U.S. workers, nor that women in that country lack the right to equal pay for equal work.
He mentioned the Venezuelan migrants, but he did not talk about the wall in the Rio Bravo. He did not mention the Central American children who are cruelly separated from their parents or any deaths in detention. He did not refer to the repression of migrants, nor of minorities, nor to the murders at the hands of the Border Patrol.
President Trump promised success to the coup plotters and said: “…because the United States is behind you supporting you”. He doesn’t seem to realize that the coup hasn’t worked and that’s why the external threat against Venezuela is increasing. He presented himself as the head of a peace-loving country.
There are dozens of wars provoked by successive governments of the United States. He is now launching a new arms race, including a nuclear one. It is the country where torture has been and is being carried out. It is the country that calls for the death of civilians.
Innocents in “collateral damage” war adventures. It is the country that has sent tens of thousands of U.S. youth like cannon fodder to die in imperialist wars of dispossession. It is the country that launched a war that has claimed more than a million lives on the basis of the lie of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Some of the current protagonists were also responsible for that one and they are the ones who are now also lying about Venezuela.
The President said that socialism does not respect borders. But it is imperialism that occupied Cuba militarily more than once, that prevented our independence until the entry into Havana of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. It was the country that stripped Mexico of more than half of its territory, that imposed cruel military dictatorships in Latin America and that today maintains aggressive military bases practically all over the planet.
President Trump said that socialism promises unity, but provokes hatred and division. Extraordinary cynicism, extraordinary hypocrisy! He is the representative of an amoral government, of a sector rejected even by the traditional U.S. parties, that pursues dirty politics, that stirs up the polarization of society through language of hatred and division, and that even high conservative exponents have denounced because they fail to meet the minimum standards of decency in politics.
The President also said that nothing is less democratic than socialism. President Trump, try a constitutional reform, hold a referendum on your policies, respect the will of your voters. Remember that you are President having lost the popular vote by more than three million ballots.
The accusation by the President of the United States that Cuba maintains a private army in Venezuela is infamous. I urge you to present evidence. Our Government rejects that slander in the strongest and most categorical terms, while reaffirming the duty and commitment to continue providing modest cooperation in which more than 20,000 Cuban aid workers, all civilians, 94% of them health workers, others in education, as it does in 83 countries of the world.
We Cubans will continue our own course and prepare for a successful referendum in just a few days. We will continue to work serenely, diligently, imbued with the certainty that we have sufficient tools to build our future.
The Cuban supporters in Venezuela, last Saturday and Sunday, already exercised their vote in the Referendum. They did it in a massive way.
They are telling their families that they are understandably concerned about the news they receive, that despite the circumstances, they live normally in Venezuela; that it is not true that there are hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans dying of hunger, as some shameless spokesmen say, and they reaffirm that they will continue to carry out their profoundly humanitarian work.
I firmly reject President Trump’s attempt to intimidate those of us who, in a totally sovereign manner, in the exercise of self-determination, have decided to build and defend socialism, and the intimidation of numerous parties, organizations and people who are lovers of justice, equity, socially and environmentally sustainable development, adversaries of exploitation, neocolonialism, neoliberalism and exclusion, have embraced with deep conviction the socialist and revolutionary ideas, under the conviction that a better world is not only possible, not only indispensable, but also inevitable.
As numerous U.S. analysts and politicians have recognized, yesterday’s speech from Florida was very electoral. It seeks to intimidate not only socialist and communist forces, but also Democratic leaders, voters, especially young voters dissatisfied with the system.
He proclaimed yesterday that there will never be socialism in America.
He wants to intimidate not only the people, but also the Democrats. His position is well known that whoever votes for the Democrats in the election campaign, which seems to have already begun, will vote for the construction of socialism in that northern nation.
Trump’s main “theoretical contribution” in his speech yesterday was the incorporation of McCarthyism into the Monroe Doctrine, in defense of a single imperialist power, to which he added an extreme, visceral, outdated, basically old anticommunism, anchored in the Cold War. It will not levy any copyright.
President Reagan and earlier Prime Minister Churchill anticipated the matter.
Seventy-one years ago Churchill said: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy…”. Thirty-six years ago Reagan stated: “I believe that communism is another sad and strange chapter in human history whose last pages are being written even now…. I believe this, because the source of our strength in the pursuit of human freedom is not material, but spiritual”.
It was a clumsy and crude declaration of imperialist domination over Our America. “We have seen the future of Cuba here in Miami,” the American President said yesterday. He is mistaken, the future of Cuba is here. With or without additional blockade measures, the future is decided by the Cubans. We have done, we have built and we will defend a Socialist Revolution in their midst.
We must remember the defeat of Batista’s dictatorship, established and sustained by imperialist governments. We are proud of the victory of Playa Girón or Bay of Pigs. Of our courage in the face of the risk of holocaust in the October Crisis. Of our firm and virile response to State terrorism, to the blast of a civil airplane in mid-flight; events that have caused 3,478 deaths and 2,099 Cubans with disabilities.
To President Trump we reiterate that our loyalty to Fidel and Raúl will be unwavering, and that the process of continuity headed by President Díaz-Canel is permanent and irreversible. We will be united with our Communist Party of Cuba. Together, we have written this new Constitution and we will vote for it on February 24, for the Homeland and Socialism. It will also be a response to President Trump’s speech.
Thank you very much.
Unofficial Translation by Internationalist 360°